What Do We Do Now?

TRAYVON MARTIN AND FATHER

Dear Black Community,

Remember this date of July 13, 2013.

Remember this day almost after three decades after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and her right to equality; remember this day 50 years after Martin Luther King proclaimed, “I Have  a Dream” to thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial; and please, remember this day after just five short years ago America elected its first African-American president.

Remember this day where our judicial system found George Zimmerman, the 29-year-old former neighborhood watch captain, NOT GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES for killing an unarmed 17-year-old black male child, Trayvon Martin. Please, remember this day.

When that jury read the statement of its conclusion, it also offered a few shocking, scary and detrimental “facts” to not only the Black Community, but our nation as a whole:

1. Under this Stand Your Ground Law, a person may kill an unarmed child in “self defense,” even if he or she initiated the supposed “life threatening” occurrence with said child. And this person will most often win because it’s his/her word against someone who is now deceased.

The non-emergency call tapes clearly show that Zimmerman was told he did not need to follow Trayvon Martin. Now if you want to believe that this “concerned citizen” who had been rejected to join a police force willingly complied with the dispatcher’s request and returned to his vehicle, that’s on you. Any fool can see Zimmerman took matters into his own hands, following Trayvon and, therefore, initiating any future confrontation(s). The court just told America today that you can get into a scuffle with someone; have no serious injuries whatsoever to support your (I feared for my life) claims; shoot and kill the person; claim self-defense; and win because your word is now fact compared to the silence of a corpse.

2. Racial profiling is acceptable. It is perfectly okay to deem a dark-skinned person (especially male) wearing a hoody as someone who looks like “he’s up to no good” and who is “on drugs or something.”

These were Zimmerman’s exact words. He did not know Trayvon from Adam, yet looking at his attire on a dark, rainy night, he could conclude this? How so? Because, Martin was black, male and wearing a hoodie, which we all know is what every thug wears. And we all know black people, especially black men, are all thugs who use drugs and are up to no good when they’re walking through a neighborhood the latest statistic tells us they cannot possibly afford to live in.

3. The lives and rights of Black people (especially males) are inferior.

Case in point: Michael Vick. He served 21 months in prison for fighting dogs…DOGS. Yet, Zimmerman can openly shoot and kill a human being, and that very same night the bullet from his gun took Trayvon’s life, he is sleeping in the warm and comfort of his own bed, in his own home? In America, I can put two animals against each other and go to prison, but if I kill a little black boy? Oh, we’re not even going to arrest you for that. Of course it was self defense; of course we (the Sanford Police Dept.) have no other reason not to believe your story.

My brothers and sisters, we have to wake up. If what happened today isn’t an eye opener for our community, I don’t know what is. Trayvon Martin is just one of many and an example of what can be the norm and routine in our nation’s future thinking.

Understand what happened here: A young, black kid wearing a hoodie was walking home and was murdered. What is America telling us? I can look the “wrong way” to someone and, just like that, he/she can end my life. All because of how the person thought I looked and associated this with my character. We have to wake up family!

Our community is so focused on having swag, rocking the latest style, looking a certain way, chasing this paper, and having these pseudo titles behind our names thinking once we obtain these things we’re #winning.

No, black people, we are losing—and terribly.

Racism is systematic. It is when one group has the authority and influence to control institutions to systematically oppress another group. Blacks (and minorities in general) are a speck in the sea of those in positions of authority in this country. We represent a small dot on the immense canvas of those who govern how our nation operates. We will never be able to make a lasting difference and true change if we don’t stop focusing on this false sense of success, and start focusing on educating ourselves and putting our people in true positions of authority to create change for us.

Say what you want, but as popular as the Beyonces and Jay Zs are, they still aren’t in the authoritative positions to affect policies. Sure, Jamie Foxx, the Miami Heat team, and countless other celebrities can physically support the injustice of this Trayvon Martin case, but look at the verdict. It makes no difference if superstars outside of our judicial system bring awareness to an issue if our judicial system is still controlled and operated by the select few it was designed to protect.

Just look at history: Emmit Till’s murder caused an uproar and the two white men were finally put on trial for murdering a black boy. Finally. And speaking out against their crime was a direct result of that. But, look at the outcome. You had an all white jury and a white judge who let those men walk free even when all the evidence pointed to their guilt.

Fast forward to this trial. Global Grind wrote an article about the jurors, who were all white and Hispanic. Well, isn’t that convenient that no one on the jury represented Martin’s race, but Zimmerman’s (when his doctor testified, she said he marked “white” on his records). The majority of the jurors were described as middle-aged or older white women. Another convenience.

And people claimed, “Oh most of the jurors are mothers” thinking that meant something. Please remember that mothers also spit on blacks; called them niggers; protested against the Little Rock Nine as they tried to walk into school; and supported their husbands as they burned crosses in Blacks’ yards while lynching black men, women and children.

Please, please wake up Black people! Cases like this are going to continue to happen and this country and its judicial system is going to continue to defend, protect and benefit whomever it pleases as long as we operate under it instead of within it.

So, Zimmerman got off for killing a black boy; what do we do now? Where do we go from here?

Some people have already started protesting in various cities, and there’s even a NAACP petition o file civil charges, but what’s next?

Family, the nation we live in; the one our men and women defend today; the one that was built on the backs of our ancestors just sent us a message today. And so did this system we pledge allegiance to:

America’s system will benefit a select few and it will decide who that constitutes. You do not make that decision.

So, again I ask, what are you going to do?

BIO

Service is her passion; writing is her platform; uplifting women and the Black Community is her purpose. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at www.sisterscanwespeak.tumblr.com.

 

17 Comments

  1. I too noticed an overall theme of people asking “what now?”
    I think the first thing is to pressure the Justice Department to bring federal civil rights violations against Zimmerman. There should also be a civil trial which will force Zimmerman to give an account of what he did that night.

    Other things that can be done- an economic boycott. I speak with my wallet, and like I said via Twitter, outside of paying my bills and buying food- I’m not spending a dime of money with any business that isn’t black owned.

    No movies, no eating at Applebees… nothing. Keep your money is your pocket. Do not buy Skittles of Arizona Ice Tea, I hear they have been subtly trying to make money off of the death of Trayvon.

    Also, recognize this verdict for what it is… a message to black people about the value of our lives and our children lives. This verdict gives future Zimmermans the right to kill us in cold blood and know there will be no repercussions. Whites didn’t stop hanging us out of the goodness of their hearts. The federal government stepped in and made it a crime. When they started going to jail they stopped. This case lets them know they can get back to work picking us off like flies.

    Lastly, register to vote if you haven’t and think twice the next time you try to get out of jury duty.

    Oh yeah- white women and other women of color are not our friends- never have been and never will be. Don’t trust their asses as far as you can throw them.

  2. This was an eye-opener for Blacks and Whites. The Whites who want to believe, we’re being paranoid when we talk about present day racism. Blacks who wanted to believe that because we have a Black President, we’re post-racism. This sent a message that it could be the son of any high ranking Black and the outcome will be the same…”we’re sticking together!”…it’s sad. But, it’s a shot in the arm that will make some of us think and value collective power instead of drooling over the great accomplishments of a chosen few, not being concerned about our neighbor or not supporting your own viable…as other groups clearly do, right or WRONG… Trayvon could have been anybody’s child, a chilling reality!

    What’s next?

    BOYCOTT!

  3. The 1st thing we do is teach our young black men that their lives and other young black men lives has value and to stop shooting in the streets. If we get our own communities in order then we don’t have to worry about others coming in doing anything.

    The second thing we do is stop supporting black artisist who portrays black people in a negative lite. All of them we start boycotting and protesting all that mess that they try to put out for the white people. We make them outcasts.

    And last but not least just start respecting each other. Stop acting as if we just hate each other and beging to treat each other with love & respect.

  4. I didn`t need this case to confirm that my life, as a black, and most importantly, as a black male, has no value. America has deemed me and all black males a menace to society. I didn`t follow this case because, being a student of America`s judicial system, I knew the end results without having to have the knowledge of a verdict…the verdict, only, confirmed what I already know about America. I was a deadpan upon the jury`s verdict. After my long sojourn in America, I have become numb to all the unjust verdicts regarding our lives, as a people. We have never been, nor will we ever be, considered citizens of this nation. Some have proclaimed that we live in a POST-RACIAL society simply because a black family resides at 1600 Pennsylvanis Avenue. But then, a case such as this comes along and slaps us right back to reality.

    We must crystallize that we live in a nation and under a system that was brought about by criminals of the most ferocious nature. In short, this criminal justice system was set up by criminals. The injustices of THEIR system can not disappoint me for, I have no unreasonable expectations. Why should I have hope in a system that was built upon injustice??…that`s an oxymoron. Just like Emmitt Till and bloody Sunday in Birmingham in ’63 when our girls were brutally murdered while attending Sunday school, Trayvon only serves to reinforce the idea that we are not wanted here and never will be. Whites still consider us to be chattel with no rights that they have to take into consideration. Our humanity has never been considered by them and that`s why we have a human rights problem, and not a civil rights problem, as our, BELOVED Brotha, Malcolm X so eloquently equated our status, or lack there of. You can`t have civil rights without full human rights…human rights trump all. And until we are first recognized to be human and the laws are enforced as such, then talk of civil rights is nothing more than a fallacy.

    Brotha Malcolm understood this with his three dimensional thinking and sought to link our struggle internationally. The so-called civil rights leaders were limited in their thinking by making it only about civil rights. NO!! It was, and is, our HUMAN RIGHTS that are being violated. Until a man first accepts my humanity then all the civil rights laws can be null and void. They may exist in theory in the law books but, unless there`s a radical change in the social justice system that will affirm my humanity we are only dealing with the issues from a superficial aspect. The civil war was partially brought about because we presented an unsolved quandary for America that still exists. The question of what to do with us still eats away at the callous heart of America.

    America knew then, as she does now, that if we were legally freed from bondage she would not have enough work to sustain, bought, her own and, us. The manufacturing jobs which are a buoy for most of our people are packing up and leaving. That leaves us with one alternative…to create our own. If we were mentally sound enough we would engage in economic workshops nationwide and start securing a future for ourselves. The handwriting has been on the wall for a long time. We would withdraw ALL our savings from THEIR banks and start our own treasury and build our own credit unions. Oklahoma did it in the ’20s and created their own BLACK WALLSTREET…we can do it again. However, the, sad, reality is we, collectively, are nowhere nigh this kind of three dimensional thinking. All we care about is gucci, twitter, instagram, our hair, our dress, our nails, our rims, our ride, our sound system, etc. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the old cowboys continue to reload and pick black males off at an alarming rate while manuvering the sistas into a life of prostitution. We, as a people, are at the crossroads, and we don`t need a Belshazzar as King Nebuchanezzer to interpret…the writing is explicitly understood.

    MJ & The GOLDEN 80S 4EVA!!!

    Shalom

  5. It’s very sad and distributing! I’m a black woman with a son, and I’m afraid for him everyday, because of people like George Zimmerman!

  6. This trial proved that black people had our 150000th wake up call.

  7. Its a reality check for us. We need to start sticking together and fight for are rights.

  8. Let’s see there is a million churches, thousands of prisons incarcerating our black youths and black men, black boys being murder in the streets of Chicago everyday. It’s ironic we want to march and protest now. We should have protest when the jury was selected! You ask what will we do…nothing!!! The end period!!

  9. BOHEW WAKE UP CALL… A WAKE UP CALL REALLY?? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!! BLACK MEN DYING EVERYDAY!!

  10. As Bria said above, we have to stop killing each other in the urban communities first before we start demanding civil justice on the CITY/STATE/FEDERAL level. It is time we teach our young men they have a purpose in this life and the world is theirs if they go out and get it the right way. e have to let them know there is nothing wrong with being educated, have knowledge of self, and reach back and help others that are working to make it once you have reached success. Finally, we have to teach our kids to think “tactically” while traveling out and about. We have to teach them how to deal with being stopped by the police or when confrontations come their way; and not by just kicking somebody’s ass. The system wants us to use excessive force so they can throw the book at us in the court system. Zimmerman is free because Trayvon kicked his ass (known to the court system as being the positive aggressor) and he had the “right” to shoot him. Even if Zimmerman didn’t have a gun during the confrontation the police would have arrested Trayvon for assault. Look, it is not rocket science to recognize the system is set up for us to kill/destroy each other, but protect the conservative folks from us. So, many of you reading this may ask “Damn Popeye, so Trayvon shouldn’t have defended himself?” My answer is yes he should have, but in a tactical way. We all know Z walked up on Trayvon and initiated the conflict; but Trayvon should have ran home as soon as he saw Zimmerman following him, or ran home once he punched Z in the face and created spacing between the two. Ok, many of you may say “Well, he is just a kid. He doesn’t know better or know to do all that!” That is why we have to teach our young people folks! The game is dirty out here, but we can prevail if we instill purpose, education, and tactics into our kids. Instead of being a rage against the machine let’s get educated and fuck the machine up intellectually. May Peace be upon all of you all day, every day !!!!

  11. @Oldpopeyesalt & Bria

    I understand your frustrations and I am vehemently against violence towards your own people but I will not allow that as justification for “others” or even “us” to murder and dehumanize us. We don’t blame the rapist for raping because the victim may have been scantily clad because we’re mature enough to understand that rape stems from CONTROL…We should be well aware that RACISM does not originate from the deviation of “Acceptable Behavior”, it’s also rooted in CONTROL; so, let’s stop the victim blaming. They’ve been killing us for centuries and it surely wasn’t because of killings of each other in the black communities or on the plantation, the attire that some deem inappropriate..ie..sagging pants, hoodies, etc., entertainers that some view as negative, or any other issue that exists within our communities. I refuse to justify the action of killers and their racist lynch mob of followers by rationalizing that we are the cause of our own dehumanization. Now, if you would like to discuss solutions to improve our communities for our own progression, that’s another story but in this case, it’s irrelevant. It’s a naive’ notion that if we will all just be great people, then maybe they won’t treat “us” like this. Sorry, history has already proven your theory inaccurate.

  12. In regards to the Michael Vick comparison, each case is different. Michael Vick did something completely different, underneath a totally different law. It has nothing to do with ” a dog’s life being more valuable than a black male”

  13. @SEPIASTAR

    I appreciate and respect your response and perspective, but I disagree to a certain percentage with it. You’re the concluding portion of your response is the perfect example of why we must think tactical when dealing with this society. You are correct, we as a people have been lynched, tortured, and killed in the most horrific fashions in the history of the US. But, we have added to that destruction by dehumanizing ourselves. We should think and treat ourselves and each other as the Kings, Queens, and Juggernauts we are and were throughout the history of mankind. Your closing comments suggest regardless how Black folks treat each other racists and bigots shouldn’t be doing it to us. That’s equivalent to a man telling his brother in-law to stop beating up his sister or he will kick his ass, but then goes home and puts a foot all up in his own wife’s ass. That is not an acceptable and the reason why we are not getting the justice we deserve in the system. The more we protest and express our rage the more the conservative/system will say “you people kill each other every day, so who are you to complain?” We keep doing the same thing over and over again: another Black person or minority is killed, we march/protest, hope the system does something about it, and become enraged when nothing is done, period. We have to begin to act great within our community before we demand to be treated great by a system that is “whatever” to us. Here is my suggestion: Teach our kids to have purpose in their lives; respect and love our Black women and stop treating them like shit, beating them up, cheating on them, passing HIV/AIDS to them, or leaving them with a bunch of kids; instill the principles of higher education to them and make them believe they can excel in business, science, politics, law, and industrial and corporate levels just as much as sports, Hip-Hop, and entertainment; teach our kids to stop slanging dope, smoking and shooting up dope, shooting each other, and putting our seniors and kids in fear within our own communities; throw the “stop synching” paradigm out of the window; let’s work towards getting more black men into college than in prison; let’s get out and clean up our streets and playgrounds; let’s start thinking tactical when dealing with the evil society that calls us niggers, kaffers, and tries to lynch/kill us; and let’s continue to call out the system when our people are killed by racists and nothing is done (I do agree with you on that). When we start doing that we will finally become the awaking giants and greatness conservatives have feared all along, and can’t control. There is nothing naïve about it; it will work if start with us….

    Black is Beautiful … Knowledge is Power!

  14. Ugggh!! Reading this just pissed me off all over again!! I’m so pissed about this. I pray God speedily gives Zimmerman’s ass what he deserves because our judical system is completely shot to sh!T!!!

  15. yes it was a wake up call. for those of you black folk who think white people have changed or things are better. no sir. they haven’t changed much, just racism h as gone underground. Treyvon was depicted as a criminal for day one, everything from his school records to his text messages were scrutizined, as if any of it would have meant he deserve to be killed? mind you zimmerman followed this guy, HAD THE GUN and got out of the car to pursue him.. blatant miscarriage of justice.

    the racist tweets and comments on social media say it all. Treyvon was painted as someone who deserved what he got because he was a black male.

    That is what many Americans think about our sons, fathers, brothers etc. and trust me they dont think too highlya bout us either, whose womb these men come from.

    my point, please wake up and realize that not much has changed, but that our lives have value and always will, America’s ignorance is just that, America’s ignorance. Black people d ont have allies, any said group of people are willing to spit nasty hate speech from the privacy of their homes or behind our backs, or throw us under the bus if need be, whether that be asian, white, latin, indian, what ahave you.

    In the mean time they placate you with images of black and white couples holding hands and walking off into the sunset. what a joke. interracial relationships are not a sign of progress. there are people in the se relationships for the wrong reasons and who don’t even respect each other. it isn’t a barometer of how good we are doing.

    Even Obama has been VERY reticent to speak up about race and admit it is even an issue. We black people just have to go give our best to our selves and our communities, noone else will. Educate our children about their worth and their HISTORY, the schools arent doing that.

    Set better standards for them with our behavior and involvement in our lives, so they can follow that model. There are plenty of great, hardworking, good black folsk out there but the media will never focus on that. We have to. If what i havent said is a note, please not that the boston bomber is on the cover of Rolling Stone, that says alot about what America is.

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